BBQ Chicken & Blue Cheese Salad

Bbq chicken salad

Since I made a heavy dish Thursday night, and we ate the leftovers for lunch yesterday, we needed something on the lighter side for dinner last night. This salad fit the bill. I had leftover chicken and blue cheese in the fridge, and pecans in the freezer, so it took very little planning to get this on the table. The tang from the BBQ sauce gave the chicken great flavor, and the sweetness from the candied pecans gave this salad a delicious crunch. This hearty salad was not only delicious, but filling, yet light at the same time. *See those super cute giraffe salad tongs? My cousin brought them back from her trip to Africa. They were hand made, purchased by trade. While I'm sure that they can be used, I think that they are too cool to possibly mess up, so they are just for show and I hung them on the wall in my kitchen.

For the Salad:
1 Chicken Breast
1/4 cup BBQ Sauce (we used Dinosaur BBQ)
1 head Butter Lettuce
1/3 cup Candied Pecans (recipe below)
1/3 cup Dried Cherries 
1/3 cup Blue Cheese, crumbled 
Balsamic Vinaigrette (recipe below) 

Coat the chicken with the BBQ sauce and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Cook the chicken over medium heat on the grill until cooked through. Allow the chicken to cool slightly, then slice. Gently rip the lettuce leaves and place into a large bowl. Place the sliced chicken over the top. Sprinkle on the nuts, cherries, and blue cheese. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the top and enjoy!

For the Candied Pecans:
1 tablespoon Maple Syrup
1 tablepoon Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Pecans

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, combine the syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt, stirring to blend well. Add the pecans and gently stir to coat. Transfer the pecans to the baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, stirring the mixture half way through baking. When the nuts are still hot, separate them with a fork. Allow to cool and store any leftover nuts in an airtight container.

For the Balsamic Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons Honey
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup Olive Oil
1 Garlic Cloves, crushed or minced

In a bowl, whisk together the honey, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add the balsamic vinegar and stir. Gradually whisk in the olive oil until the dressing is fully emulsified. Store in a jar with a lid in the refrigerator. Makes about 13 ounces of dressing. 

SOURCE: salad from Bake at 350 Goes Savorycandied pecans and vinaigrette from Chinese Grandma